Stopping Apoquel Suddenly

Apoquel (Oclacitinib) is an oral medication prescribed to dogs suffering from allergies, atopic dermatitis, or other skin conditions that cause itching and discomfort. It works by blocking the cytokines responsible for causing inflammation and itchiness, providing relief for your furry friend.

Reasons for Stopping Apoquel Suddenly

There could be several reasons why you might need to stop giving your dog Apoquel suddenly:

  • Adverse side effects: Some dogs may experience side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or reduced appetite. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, consult with your veterinarian immediately.
  • Ineffectiveness: If Apoquel is no longer working effectively to control your dog’s itchiness, it may be necessary to discontinue its use and explore other options.
  • Financial reasons: The cost of Apoquel can be prohibitive for some pet owners, making it necessary to seek more affordable alternatives.
  • Personal choice: Some pet owners might prefer to explore natural alternatives or address the underlying causes of their dog’s allergies.

Potential Side Effects of Stopping Apoquel Suddenly

While there is no strict guideline against stopping Apoquel suddenly, doing so may cause a resurgence of itchiness and inflammation in your dog. This is because the cytokines that were being suppressed by Apoquel will no longer be inhibited, potentially leading to increased discomfort. It is essential to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s medication regimen.

Natural Alternatives to Apoquel

If you’re considering stopping Apoquel and want to explore natural alternatives, here are a few options to discuss with your veterinarian:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These can help reduce inflammation and improve skin health. High-quality fish oil supplements are a popular source of omega-3 fatty acids for dogs.
  • Quercetin: A natural plant-derived compound that has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties, quercetin may help alleviate allergy symptoms in some dogs.
  • Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria can help support your dog’s immune system and promote a healthy gut, potentially reducing allergic reactions.
  • Diet changes: Identifying and eliminating allergens in your dog’s diet can help reduce itching and inflammation. A hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diet may be recommended by your veterinarian.

Consult with Your Veterinarian

Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s medication, especially if you plan on stopping Apoquel suddenly. Your veterinarian can help you identify the best course of action for your dog, whether it’s finding a new medication, adjusting the dosage, or exploring natural alternatives.


Stopping Apoquel suddenly can cause your dog’s itchiness and inflammation to return. It’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s medication regimen. If you’re considering natural alternatives, discuss these options with your veterinarian to ensure the best course of action for your furry friend.

FAQs about Apoquel

What happens when you take your dog off Apoquel suddenly?

Stopping Apoquel suddenly may result in the return of itching and inflammation associated with your dog’s allergies. This is because the medication suppresses the immune system response responsible for the symptoms. When Apoquel is discontinued, the immune system may resume its overactive response, leading to the recurrence of allergy symptoms.

Can I just stop giving my dog Apoquel?

It is generally safe to stop giving your dog Apoquel, but it’s recommended to consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s medication regimen. Your vet may suggest a gradual reduction in dosage or provide alternative treatment options to manage your dog’s allergy symptoms effectively.

How long does it take to get Apoquel out of a dog’s system?

Apoquel has a half-life of approximately 5.6 hours in dogs, meaning that half the drug is eliminated from the body in this time. It takes about five half-lives (28 hours) for the drug to be almost entirely eliminated from the system. However, the exact time may vary depending on factors such as your dog’s age, metabolism, and overall health.

See also  Is Vetmedin Safe for Dogs?

What is a natural alternative to Apoquel?

There are several natural alternatives to Apoquel that may help manage your dog’s allergy symptoms. These include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and improve skin health.
  • Quercetin: A natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in fruits and vegetables that may help alleviate allergy symptoms.
  • Probiotics: Beneficial bacteria that can support a healthy gut and immune system, potentially reducing the severity of allergy symptoms.
  • A limited-ingredient diet: Feeding your dog a diet with limited ingredients can help identify and eliminate potential allergens in their food.

Please consult with your veterinarian before trying any natural alternatives to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your dog’s specific needs.

Can Apoquel cause long-term side effects in dogs?

Apoquel is generally considered safe for long-term use in dogs. However, some side effects have been reported, including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and an increased risk of infections due to its immunosuppressive properties. It’s essential to monitor your dog for any unusual symptoms or behavior changes while they are on Apoquel and report them to your veterinarian.

Can my dog develop a resistance to Apoquel?

It is possible, although uncommon, for a dog to develop resistance to Apoquel, causing it to become less effective over time. If you notice that your dog’s allergy symptoms are no longer well-controlled with Apoquel, consult your veterinarian to discuss alternative treatment options.

What other medications can be used to manage dog allergies?

There are several other medications available for treating allergies in dogs, including:

  • Steroids: Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can effectively reduce inflammation and itchiness but may have more severe side effects with long-term use.
  • Antihistamines: Medications like Benadryl or Zyrtec can help alleviate itchiness and other allergy symptoms in some dogs but may not be as effective as Apoquel.
  • Cytopoint: A monoclonal antibody therapy that targets the cytokine responsible for triggering itchiness in dogs. It is administered as an injection and can provide relief for up to 8 weeks.

Your veterinarian will help determine the best treatment option based on your dog’s specific needs and health history.

How can I prevent my dog’s allergies from getting worse?

Prevention is key to managing your dog’s allergies effectively. Here are some strategies to minimize allergen exposure and prevent worsening symptoms:

  • Regular grooming: Brushing your dog’s coat regularly can help remove allergens and promote a healthy skin barrier.
  • Frequent baths: Use a hypoallergenic or medicated dog shampoo to cleanse the skin and remove allergens.
  • Environmental control: Vacuum and clean your home regularly to reduce allergens and maintain a clean living space for your dog.
  • Avoid known allergens: Identify and minimize your dog’s exposure to known allergens, such as certain foods, pollen, or flea bites.

Can a change in diet help manage my dog’s allergies?

Yes, changing your dog’s diet can help manage food-related allergies. If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy, consult with your veterinarian about implementing an elimination diet. This involves feeding your dog a novel protein and carbohydrate source for a specific period, then reintroducing potential allergens one at a time to identify the culprit. High-quality, limited-ingredient diets or prescription hypoallergenic diets may also be beneficial.

How can I identify my dog’s specific allergens?

Identifying the exact allergens affecting your dog can be challenging. Your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing, which includes blood tests or intradermal skin testing. These tests can help identify specific allergens causing your dog’s symptoms, allowing you to implement targeted treatments and preventive measures.

Can I use over-the-counter creams or sprays to relieve my dog’s itching?

Over-the-counter creams, sprays, or ointments may provide temporary relief for mild itching in dogs. However, they may not be effective for more severe cases or address the underlying cause of the itchiness. Always consult your veterinarian before using any over-the-counter products on your dog, as some ingredients may not be safe or suitable for their specific needs.

How can I strengthen my dog’s immune system to minimize allergy symptoms?

Supporting your dog’s immune system can help reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. Here are some strategies to promote a healthy immune system:

  • Balanced diet: Ensure your dog is receiving a complete and balanced diet to provide essential nutrients for optimal immune function.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help improve your dog’s overall health and immune response.
  • Stress reduction: Minimizing stressors in your dog’s environment can help support a healthy immune system.
  • Supplements: Consider supplements such as probiotics or immune-boosting supplements after consulting with your veterinarian.

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